Education is the driving force of the collective called a nation. It possesses miraculous properties to wipe out poverty, oppression and apathy – evils that plague our society. Many nations allocate a significant portion of their GDP towards education but there still remain large sections which are stuck in a sort of perpetual ‘Dark Age’. This is mostly due to the absence of cogs that turn the wheels of enlightenment and learning.
Since the past five or six centuries, schools and universities have been the mainstay in the dissemination of learning. However, with the onset of technology, the Internet has become so pervasive that it has become the de-facto tool for the acquisition of learning and education.
Several, hundred years ago, learning was all about copying and memorising. As technology spread and infiltrated various socioeconomic groups, computers allowed students to access informational resources via the web while they simultaneously listened to a related lecture. E-learning previously involved video clips that demonstrated a task and the student was prompted to answer MCQs to advance further. E-learning became more interactive as advancements in graphics and storage allowed for more complicated programs, and learners could participate in simulations and choose the path of their lesson. Some courses even replaced instructors and more learning institutions adopted E-learning platforms.
The future e-learning trends could comprise of the following and may render a brick and mortar classroom irrelevant in the future:
1. MOOC: Massively Open Online Courses allow millions of people from all over the world to take the same course concomitantly. An effective way to monetize them hasn’t been found yet but their growing credibility among companies can redefine ‘classrooms’. It would become a figurative term with the world being called a ‘classroom’. It would also make learning affordable, and all permeating through more avenues.
2. Mobile learning: The mobile devices, or rather, smartphones, as they are called today come equipped with a host of powerful features such as a camera, digital compass, heat sensors and gyroscopes that enable them to become scientific tools and perform real time, on field scientific experiments. It also enables the user to take lessons on the go through the apps specifically designed for the courses.
3. E-learning can take the form of an interactive gaming session rather than conventional lectures. Learners like challenges and games give them the opportunity to devise strategies to beat the game.
The concept of E-learning will certainly revolutionize traditional learning by providing richer content and broader perspectives. A teacher can become a motivator, confidante and designer of content and organizer of the flow of courses rather than a transmitter of knowledge and hard-nosed discipline. It will make learning personalized, individualistic and self-paced, further making it more palatable and exciting.
Education today is certainly a diamond in the rough and e-learning could be the polish that cleans up sub-par teaching, provides equality across sub-economic groups and makes learning a whole lot more exciting.